If the narrow, steep, northern part of the Rhône is the handle of the frying pan, then the southern Rhône is the pan itself. The valley walls spread out to form a dry plain many dozens of miles across. The climate here is properly Mediterranean and vineyards are interspersed with almond groves and orchards of stone fruit. Red wines are based on the Grenache variety, but blends are the norm. The most celebrated wine of this region is Châteauneuf-du-Pape, followed by Gigondas (steadily gaining in reputation) and Vacquéras.